If you're concerned about the environment, read how to make a difference by switching from
incandescent light bulbs to environmentally friendly ones.
When a light burns out in a lamp at home, and you go shopping for new bulbs, you may find that you have new choices. Although you can still find incandescent bulbs, most of the options will be either compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs). Many people consider these light bulbs to be more environmentally friendly because they save energy and lower costs.
These are our picks for some of the best environmentally friendly bulbs for indoor or outdoor uses at home.
Seaside Village 6W Vintage LED Edison Bulbs
If you have an older home or décor style, these modern LED vintage-style Edison bulbs should be a good fit for your house. They are 6W, which is comparable to 60W incandescent bulbs, but they don’t use as much energy. They can provide up to a 90 percent savings over regular bulbs, and they last for about 20,000 hours.
These bulbs are dimmable, and they can fit most dimmers on the market. The LED filament inside the clear glass bulbs will not flicker or strobe when the light comes on. The clear Edison bulbs are a very thin crystal that allows for a high transmittance rate with soft white light.
They are suitable for indoor or outdoor use if the fixture is enclosed. The bulbs are available in 4-packs, or you can buy 8W bulbs in 4-packs in daylight white and 4-packs of 6W in warm white bulbs.
HENLIX E12 4W Candelabra LED Bulbs
If you need candelabra bulbs for your home, they are now available as energy-saving LEDs. These HENLIX bulbs are 4W, which is equal to 40W incandescent bulbs. Also, they are 5,000-Kelvin daylight white and can be put in any room including the living room, dining room, kitchen or any other area that needs good lighting.
They can provide up to a 90 percent savings on energy, and they are long lasting lights that allow you to get about 25,000 hours of use from each one. They have a standard B11 candle shape with an E12 base that can fit into any lighting fixture or lamp socket of that size.
These bulbs are available in a 12-pack, but they are also available as 2,700k, 3,000k, and 4,000-kelvin versions. The 3000k bulbs are also available in 12-packs, but the others come in 24-packs. The lights do not flicker, and the HENLIX company offers a two-year limited warranty on them.
Philips 8.5W A19 Frosted White Bulbs
These 8.5W LED bulbs look like traditional bulbs, but they use 80 percent less energy than the equivalent 60W incandescent bulbs. They also last about ten times longer than both incandescent and halogen bulbs by providing up to 10,950 hours of light per bulb.
They are soft white with crisp color. These bulbs are non-dimmable, so they won't dim, even if they are in a dimmer. These lights are not compatible with Philips HUE products, but they will work on most lamp bases. To ensure they are comfortable to the eye, a flicker, strobe, glare and color test are done on the bulbs.
These bulbs do not contain mercury, so they are not hazardous waste and can be thrown away in a regular garbage bin. However, the precautions above should be taken if a bulb is broken. They are available in a 16-bulb package.
Sunco BR30 11W LED Floor Lights
These floodlights from Sunco are indoor/outdoor compatible if water cannot get to them when they are outside. Use them for as landscape, track, accent or home lighting. Hotels, restaurants, museums, and retail shops can also use these lights.
They can save up to 90 percent of the energy that incandescent bulbs use, and they can not only replace them but halogen and CFLs as well. Each bulb provides approximately 25,000 hours of use, and provide bright light, but they are dimmable so that you can create a nice ambiance with them while entertaining guests.
They are sold as warm white color in 3000k or 2700k bulbs and are available in 10-packs. They are also available as cool white 4000k or in daylight 5000k bulbs, both of which are in 10-packs as well. The Sunco lights do not contain mercury, they do not flicker, and they include a three-year warranty.
SUNMEG A19 11W LED Bulbs
The non-dimmable SUNMEG A19 bulbs are 11W LED lights that can replace 100W incandescent bulbs and result in about a 90 percent energy savings. The light they create is the same as traditional bulbs, but they do not contain mercury, they do not flicker or emit UV light.
The bulbs will last for about 25,000 hours, which means they could continue working for up to 20 years if you use them an average of three hours per day. The daylight 5000-kelvin lights are fit for use in the kitchen, dining room, living room, or anywhere else in your home that needs good light. These bulbs fit E26 fixtures or lamps within your home.
Lighting EVER A19 6W LED RGBW Bulbs
These LE bulbs can change into one of 16 colors when they are on, whether in a lamp or a fixture in your home. The bulbs are dimmable, so along with changing the color, they can create ambiance by turning down their brightness. The remote that comes with the bulbs can help create four effects, flashing or strobing lights, fading, or smooth lighting.
They can be put in a home or business as they have a 200-degree beam angle. These LED bulbs are 6W, which is equal to 40W white incandescent lights. They fit in any socket that CFLs or incandescent bulbs fit into, so they are a suitable replacement for old bulbs. They are available in packs of two, or you can buy them as single bulbs.
Homelek 3W LED Bulbs
These Homelek bulbs are 3W LEDs that are equivalent to 25W incandescent ones. Since they create a traditional warm light, they are best for use in the bedroom or living room where you may want a softer (or warmer) type light. They have an E26 base so that they can fit into a lamp or ceiling fixture with the same base.
Each bulb has a lifespan of about 25,000 hours, and they are shockproof, they don't emit UV light, and they do not contain any mercury or lead. These lights are just for indoor use, so do not expose them to water or sunlight. They only lose about 5 percent of brightness per year, so they retain about 95 percent of the last year's intensity. These bulbs are available in a six-pack.
Energy Efficient Bulbs
When it comes to saving energy, many bulbs outshine incandescent ones. Incandescent bulbs waste a lot of energy because they generate heat while they burn. If several lamps or strong bulbs are burning in a room, it can cause the temperature to rise. During the summer, that could cause the air conditioning system to turn on, wasting even more energy.
Compact Fluorescent Light
Incandescent bulbs have given way to CFLs because they are more energy efficient. They don’t emit heat while burning, they use only about 25 percent of the energy of traditional incandescent bulbs, and they last much longer. Most CFLs provide about 10,000 hours of use and help pay for themselves in about 500 hours due to the energy savings.
While CFLs sold for home use look noticeably different because of their shape, they resemble the twists of a screw, and they come in many shapes, sizes, and light colors. No matter what size lamp or fixture is in a home, there should be a CFL that fits it.
One drawback is that CFLs need to be disposed of properly when they burn out. They contain small amounts of mercury powder that can be dangerous if someone inhales the vapor or the dust. So, when CFL bulbs break, the residue needs to be cleaned immediately to prevent inhalation. You should also touching it.
Experts recommend that people shut off the air conditioner or heating system to stop the vapors from spreading through the vents. Also, the person cleaning up the broken light should wear gloves and use a slightly damp power towel to gather the glass pieces and any residue on the floor. The debris from the bulb should be put into a sealable plastic bag, along with the paper towel, then sealed and thrown away.
Light Emitting Diodes
More affordable LED options are now available for lighting houses, including using them in fixtures, lamps, and under cabinet lighting. They are also more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and last much longer than them.
The United States Department of Energy says that 15W LEDs use about 75 to 80 percent more energy efficient than 60W incandescent lights. With the widespread use of these bulbs, by 2027, they can help save consumers about $30 Billion. Also, LEDs last about 60 times longer than incandescent bulbs and about 10 times longer than CFLs.
While LED bulbs do not have mercury in them, but other chemicals that are just as harmful in them, such as lead, arsenic, and others. Researchers from the University of California Irvine and UC Davis put several types of broken LED lights to the test, including brake lights, traffic signals, and Christmas lights.
They found that low-intensity red lights had eight times more lead than is allowable under California law. While there were lower levels of lead in white lights, there were high levels of nickel and arsenic residue, along with copper and other metals. These chemicals and metals have links to severe illnesses in humans, like cancers, neurological damage, and skin rashes, and they cause damage to waterways.
Due to the residue in LEDs, the study recommends treating the waste of broken lights or bulbs as
hazardous waste and use the same cleaning protocol for CFLs for LED light bulbs as well. People should wear gloves, use a damp paper towel to clean the glass pieces and residue, then deposit everything in a sealable plastic bag and throw it away after sealing it.
However, both CFLs and LED bulbs are much more environmentally friendly than incandescent bulbs, so we found several options for home use and gave them a star rating to help readers determine which are the best for lighting their homes.
How We Chose Our Ratings
After reading the information on the products to make sure they are eco-friendly, we also scanned the testimonials and ratings from people who use them before assigning products a star rating. We assign each light bulb a rating from one to five stars with five being the highest rating. Below are the bulbs we chose after researching them.
Buyer’s Guide for LED Bulbs
Even though both CFL and LED bulbs are much more environmentally friendly than incandescent lights, since the price has come down, more LEDs are being sold for both home and business uses. Two numbers on the bulb packages will inform you as to the brightness of the light.
First, there is the number of lumens in a LED bulb. If you want a bright light, something that is the
equivalent of a 75W incandescent bulb, you should look for an LED bulb that has 900 lumens. You can find a chart online that gives you the LED lumens that are equivalent to incandescent watts by searching lumens to watts.
The other number that tells you how bright LED light bulbs are is by the number of kelvins in the light.
For warm light, like an incandescent bulb, look for an LED bulb that is 2,700k (or kelvins). A slightly
cooler light will be 3,000k, a cool light is 3,500k to 4,100k, and a bulb that makes the light to appear like daytime will be 5,000k to 6,000k.
By understanding the numbers on the package of LED bulbs, you can figure out the equivalent wattage of a traditional bulb and how bright of a light you will get while buying a light bulb that uses less energy and which can save you money on your electric bill for many years.